Author Topic: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history  (Read 921 times)

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Offline Zenith Decrowe

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Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« on: September 11, 2010, 02:47:53 am »
So musicians, why do you do what you do?  What got you started or made you pick up your instrument?  Why do you keep playing today?

My story...  Hmmm...  I can say that I started my musical upbringing the opposite of most people.  While some people start to play their instrument to be like their idols or famous, I started without any of those motivations and then found them later.  I started playing the guitar when I was young (about 9-10).  I really didn't and still don't know why I started to play the guitar.  I just felt like playing it one day and I asked my parents to but a cheap one for me for my birthday.  I started out by taking guitar lessons at a place across the street next to my old apartment.  That's where I got my roots in classical training.  I really didn't want to play a "grandpas guitars" (cookie for reference!) but they insisted that I start leaning classically.  I got pretty well at classical music (I started reading Tarrega stuff) and it helped me learn my fingering and stuff, but classical guitar wasn't for me.  It all changed when I got my first electric guitar for my 11th or 12th birthday.  I quit lessons for about 2 years to focus on my own playing.  Then I started electric guitar lessons at the same place, where I learned theory as opposed to technique.  There, I found some of my first inspirations.  Jimi Hendrix was one of them.  I eventually learned most of his songs and craved more.  This led me to find other guitar virtuosos such as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, etc.  I'm currently learning some of their songs now. 

As I grew older, I figured that playing the guitar was my passion and the only thing I was ever good at, so I keep on practicing and studying theory and practicing.  I want to go to those colleges my idols went to and be as good or even better than them.  I want the guitar to become my life so I can become great at it and play music that can make people cry or some other emotion like that and maybe even become famous playing it.  (That last part may be a stretch).  That's why I play today. 
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Offline Meadow Whisper (Natasha)

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Re: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 02:59:25 am »
I played trumpet, and while I haven't actually picked it up in ages, I still own it and want to get back into it.  Why the trumpet?  Well, when I was starting middle school (6th grade), I really wanted to be in band, and I told my parents this.  Unfortunately, we had no money, and couldn't afford an instrument for me, especially not a saxophone (which is what I most wanted to play).  But, my uncle still had his trumpet from when he was in school, and if I played that, I could be in band.  So, trumpet it was, and to this day, I still have the same trumpet, which is now over 40 years old.

Unfortunately, I lost interest in band fairly quickly, because the trumpet was a boring instrument, and I had other things to do after school besides practice an instrument.  So, I didn't really care or try.  Oddly enough, though, this didn't make me awful at it.  In fact, I was better than some other people in band (not many, but I wasn't the bottom of the class).  My high school band director told me I had great potential, and needed to practice after school, but I still didn't care.

It wasn't until after I graduated, and started listening to jazz music occasionally, that I started being truly interested in playing the trumpet.  So, while I've done very little to accomplish this goal, I do have a goal of re-learning the trumpet and getting good at it.  I'd still like to learn the saxophone someday too, but I can't afford one, nor do I have access to one.


I've also tried to learn guitar at two different points in my life, both acoustic and electric, but I never really got anywhere with it.  It took forever for the concept of how to actually play it to take root, and while mom was able to scrounge together enough money to get me a nice acoustic for Christmas one year, we didn't have the funds for lessons, or access to anyone who could teach me.  She sold it a few years later.  I bought a cheap electric from a classmate in high school, and still had it until a couple years ago, but again, I couldn't find anyone to teach me how to play it, and I had zero luck with self-instruction.

I wouldn't mind to learn the guitar someday, because it's a fun instrument and I've dreamed of playing it most of my life, but given my track record, I doubt it'll ever happen unless I'm dating a guitarist.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 03:02:49 am by Natasha Softpaw »
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Offline Tyla

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Re: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 04:42:44 am »
Another one? I never really had any erm... famous influence as such. The only kind of influence I can strongly admit to is John Myung (Who is the prime reason I play a 6-string bass), and of course Mike Portnoy in terms of drums, Dream Theater only being in my life as something I actively listen to for maybe 5 months or so? I bought my first drumkit at 15, and from 14 I was on and off - after turning 16, music literally became my life, and I can honestly say that the whole "rock star" thing is, as opposed to encouraged, I disagree with that whole view - I've always played because I enjoy it, it makes me happy, and yes, when I play I make funny faces, and string bending makes me pull funny faces to the MAX.

I've never actually taken any lessons in practical music, except for the few for a couple weeks at the end of Thursdays at school, but there weren't many of the lessons, so I'm mostly self-learned. That was only guitar, for the record. Most of my learning comes from the internet or personal findings, but for the most part my music theory itself is from the internet, because if I didn't have the internet, I'd be more clueless. But for history, I can really say... nothing. That sort of memory is crappy for me.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 04:49:21 am by Tyla »

Offline Sui Generis

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Re: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 05:50:16 am »
I am a trombone player and am actually doing trombone performance as part of a double major.

I started playing trombone because while, for all sakes and purposes, I had a choice of what instrument I played, I had been indoctrinated Brave New World style to be a trombone player.  My father is a professional trombone player, and I have been hearing phrases like "trombone is the mightiest of all instruments" since a ridiculously young age.  (In fact there's footage of me picking up, in the broadest sense of the phrase, and playing a note, read: making a noise, on my dad's horn when I was only a little over one year old.)

To be honest I have never thought about why I continue to play because not playing has never crossed my mind.  When I practice less than an hour any given day I feel intense guilt about not having done enough, and even when I practice more than that, I frequently find myself checking my schedule to see when I can make it back into the practice room.  I play in literally as many ensembles as I can fit into my schedule (5, on top of 16 credit hours and a choir), and the orchestra I'm in is preparing for an international tour.  I continue to play because trombone has become such an intense part of my life that I literally cannot imagine my life without it.
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Offline Schism

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Re: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 01:32:02 pm »
I started playing piano in the 4th grade. I have an excellent ear for notes and such, but I lacked the skills for reading music. That's the main reason my parents signed me up, so I could learn to read, and get a foundation in music. I sort of learned, but my ear kept dominating the way I learned songs. After 3 years, I quit piano, and went on a "musical hiatus" for a while. By that time, I was listening to bands like Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, Gorillaz, and the Killers. I was finding my way in the music world.

One day, in 6th grade, I was sitting in my room, listening to a rock radio station I found. Then, a song came on that probably altered my entire taste in music. That song was Tool's "Schism". I loved everything about it, and of course, thoroughly researched Tool. I can cite them as my main influence of my playing style. I learned about odd times, polyrhythms, and all sorts of concepts by listening to them. I also discovered more from the prog-genre, like Dream Theater, Cynic, Devin Townsend, Opeth, and most recently, Porcupine Tree and Mastodon.

I didn't start playing the drums until June 2009. I was inspired in 7th grade after seeing a music video by Avenged Sevenfold (Afterlife). I liked the way the Rev would spin his sticks while playing, I hadn't seen anything like it. I never imagined drumming would have been something big for me, but it has had a big impact on my life so far. In my opinion, I've come a long way since 2009.

What keeps me going is my constant search for new inspiration. At first, I basically liked Danny Carey. Then came Mike Portnoy, Gavin Harrison, Pat Skeffington, Brann Dailor, Sean Reinert, Josh Free, and a whole bunch of other drummers. I like to mimic their playing styles, and let it rub off on my own style.

I can't wait to see where my drumming takes me. I've met plenty of people through it. It's become a staple to my life, something people think of when they think of me.

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Re: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2010, 12:32:34 am »
Well, my first real exposure to music was through the Alan Parsons Project and Rush because my dad is a big fan of APP and a moderate fan of Rush. I then got mildly into the classics such as Styx and Supertramp. I decided, at first, that I wanted to learn the guitar. After taking several months of guitar lessons, my teacher moved away. I never really looked for another guitar teacher.

Years went by, and my preferred music style evolved from light, classic rock to metal, and then again to progressive metal. I owe a lot of my music exposure to my friends and the Rock Band video game. This summer, I decided I wanted to learn how to play an instrument, and I decided on the keyboards/ piano. I had seen this wicked video of Rick Wakeman preforming a live piano, and I can say that that video played no small part on my decision. Both Rick Wakeman and Jordan Rudess inspire me to keep going. Before seeing them play, I had no idea that keyboards could be played really fast.
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Offline Jerry

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Re: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2010, 01:19:23 am »
        I am currently playing the trumpet. Ever since I was in elementary school, I noticed trumpets everywhere and the majestic tone it provides. I was also fortunate of having the choice of instrument that I would be able to play and I still feel to this day that I made the right choice.
        I started on piano lessons and they greatly helped me prepare for the intense musical theory required for playing such a demanding instrument like the trumpet. Then, I was able to start on my 4th grade year of elementary school. Ever since, I have been playing trumpet for the challenges it provides and the reward of feeling good after each solo. I have mainly been focusing in on classical work or non traditional pieces but this year, I am going to work on improv and jazz and also composing my own music to a higher level of musicality. I believe that the only way one will get good at an instrument is to have the love of playing. I have the worst trumpet in my class but I know that it is how the instrument is played rather than the quality of the instrument. I also think that everyone starts at the same place in learning music but however much dedication is put into the instrument will determine how fast one progresses at the instrument. Otherwise, there would be no point in practicing. I also create and record music for short films which is practically like an instrument with the skills required.

"Look around the room. Nobody in here has any magical powers that makes playing music any easier. Those who make it look easy have put many hours into playing and studying the music. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise, you may be one of the greatest musicians to ever walk the face of the earth. All you have to do is be patient and just purely do this for the sake of making music."-Somebody (I say it to myself every time I play my trumpet)
       I hope everyone plays an instrument for the sake of creating music. I am getting slightly tired of only doing music for fame and money. Oh well, that is just what I have to say.

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Re: Why do you play your instrument? A.K.A: Your musical history
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2010, 12:38:09 pm »
I play piano because it relaxes me and I love how my waltzes sound.
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